A lot of work goes into building a video game. Whether it’s concept art, programming AI, writing scripts, or whatever else, these things don’t just happen. They take a lot of planning and work. Even little elements like the on-screen displays and title sequences, when properly done, are the result of careful planning.
Art of the Title is a site devoted to examining title sequences in popular culture – TV, movies, and games. Will Perkins interviews Jon McKellan, title and interface designer for Creative Assembly, the developer of Alien: Isolation.
While many critics – us included – felt the game was a bit longer than it should’ve been, agreement is all but unanimous that the game is overwhelmingly successful in establishing the atmosphere and tone we expect from an Alien property.
First impressions are important, and the title sequence of the game starts things off on the right foot.
One of the most memorable visual hallmarks of Alien is a reliance on CRT monitors displaying some fairly primitive text and imagery. Isolation nails that aesthetic right away with a sequence that helps recall its inspiration. The 20th Century Fox title card was even pulled in over a VHS signal, something Fox ultimately approved, helping drive the idea home.
The full interview, linked below, goes into depth talking about the in-game displays and how they were influenced by the original film’s design work, and how the team had to work to differentiate between elements of the game’s interface and interfaces the main character looks at.